Ukrainian Commander-in-Chief Gen. Valery Zaluzhny acknowledged in comments to The Economist that the war in Ukraine is a stalemate and that there will “most likely” be no Ukrainian breakthrough.
“Just like in the First World War, we have reached the level of technology that puts us into a stalemate,” the general said. “There will most likely be no deep and beautiful breakthrough.”
Ukraine gained no significant territory in its counteroffensive that was launched back in June. Media reports and the Discord leaks revealed that the US, Kyiv’s main backer, did not think Ukraine would have much success, but the Biden administration pushed for the counteroffensive anyway.
Zaluzhny discussed changes he tried to make during the counteroffensive. “First I thought there was something wrong with our commanders, so I changed some of them. Then I thought maybe our soldiers are not fit for purpose, so I moved soldiers in some brigades,” he said.
After the changes failed, Zaluzhny said he looked to a book published in 1941 by a Soviet major general that analyzed World War I. “And before I got even halfway through it, I realized that is exactly where we are because just like then, the level of our technological development today has put both us and our enemies in a stupor,” he said.
Zaluzhny said that both sides can always see the other coming, thanks to modern technology. “The simple fact is that we see everything the enemy is doing and they see everything we are doing. In order for us to break this deadlock, we need something new, like the gunpowder which the Chinese invented and which we are still using to kill each other,” he said.
Despite his assessment, The Economist report said Zaluzhny believes the fighting should continue. “Nevertheless, he insists that Ukraine has no choice but to keep the initiative by remaining on the offensive, even if it only moves by a few meters a day,” the report said.
The interview was published after a report from Time Magazine revealed that Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky’s closest aides believe he is “deluding himself” into believing Ukraine can beat Russia. “We’re out of options. We’re not winning. But try telling him that,” one of Zelensky’s aides said.